The Joel Myerson Collection of
Nineteenth-century American Literature

Drawing by Cranch
Christopher Pearse Cranch,
Caricature of lines from
Emerson's Nature, ca. 1838

The collection, totaling more than 11,000 volumes, was built up over a period of more than 30 years by Professor Joel Myerson, former chair of the English Department and one of the leading scholars on the movement the collection represents. The Carolina Distinguished Professor of American Literature came to the University in 1971.

The materials include comprehensive collections of first editions for Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson, along with manuscripts, letters, proofs, later and posthumous editions, and associated scholarship.

With these core collections are smaller collections for lesser-known writers of the Transcendentalist movement, such as Christopher Pearse Cranch, significant groups of early editions from other writers of the period such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Bronson and Louisa May Alcott, Herman Melville, and Harold Frederic, and a 7,000 volume reference collection of scholarly publications about the period.

Myerson is the author or editor of some 60 books on 19th century American literature, from his early studies of Margaret Fuller, to such recent titles as Transcendentalism: A Reader(2000), Whitman in His Own Time (2000), and The Later Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson (2 vols., 2001). He has published the standard scholarly bibliographical studies on each of the main authors he has collected; and he established and edited the major scholarly journal in the period, Studies on the American Renaissance (20 vols., 1977-1996).

An introductory exhibit from the Collection, with a catalogue by Professor Myerson, was on display from late November 2001 to early February 2002.

For information on the collection or the exhibit, contact the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at 777-3847.


Prepared for the web by Eva Moore. 
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